X-ray (chess)

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8
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a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black rook
g8 black king
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black bishop
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
g6 black pawn
d5 white pawn
e5 black pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 black knight
e4 white pawn
a3 white pawn
c3 white knight
e3 white bishop
f3 white knight
b2 white pawn
e2 white bishop
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
d1 white queen
f1 white rook
g1 white king
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Position arising from Black Knights' Tango: Black's rook X-rays White's pawn on e4
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b8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
f8 black rook
h8 black king
f7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
d6 black pawn
g6 black pawn
a5 black pawn
d5 white knight
a4 white rook
c4 white bishop
e4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
h4 black bishop
b3 white pawn
c3 white pawn
e3 white knight
d1 white queen
f1 white king
h1 white rook
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Position after 21...Bh4+ 22.Kf1; after 22...f5, Black's rook on f8 X-rays White's king on f1

In chess, the term X-ray or X-ray attack is sometimes used (1) as a synonym for skewer.[1][2][3] The term is also sometimes used to refer to a tactic where a piece either (2) indirectly attacks an enemy piece through another piece or pieces or (3) defends a friendly piece through an enemy piece.

The second usage is seen in the position at left, which arises from the Black Knights' Tango opening after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3 e6 4.a3 d6 5.Nc3 g6!? 6.e4 Bg7 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 Re8 9.Be3 e5 10.d5 Nd4! Authors Richard Palliser and Georgi Orlov, in their respective books on that opening, both note that Black's rook on e8 "X-rays" White's e-pawn through Black's own pawn on e5. If 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Bxd4 Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Rxe4.[4][5] The identical position is reached, except that White has not played a2-a3, in the King's Indian Defense after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6. Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Be3 Re8 9.d5 Nd4![6]

Of the position at right, arising from the Sveshnikov Variation of the Sicilian Defense, Atanas Kolev and Trajko Nedev observe, "On f1 the king is X-rayed by the f8-rook". They analyze the possible continuation 22...f5 23.exf5 Bxf5 24.Nxf5 Rxf5 25.Qg4 Bg5 (exploiting the pin along the f-file) 26.Kg2? Bxf4 27.Nxf4 Rg5 28.Nxg6+ Kg7 and White resigned in Delchev-Kotanjian, Kusadasi 2006.[7]

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8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black knight
e8 black rook
g8 black king
b7 black pawn
d7 black knight
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
a6 black pawn
c6 black pawn
d6 black bishop
h6 black pawn
a5 white pawn
d5 black pawn
f5 white pawn
b4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
e4 white pawn
h4 black queen
c3 white knight
d3 white bishop
h3 white pawn
c2 white queen
d2 white bishop
g2 white pawn
b1 white rook
e1 white rook
g1 white king
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Krasenkow-Seirawan, position after 23...Qd8-h4!: the Black queen X-rays White's pawn on d4
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8
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a8 black rook
d8 black rook
g8 black king
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black queen
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black bishop
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
g6 black pawn
c4 black bishop
e4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
c3 white knight
e3 white bishop
f3 white bishop
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white queen
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
e1 white rook
g1 white king
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Rauzer-Botvinnik: Cafferty and Taimanov suggest 15.Qf2, removing the queen from the X-ray of Black's rook

The position at left arose after 23...Qd8-h4! in KrasenkowSeirawan, 34th Chess Olympiad, Istanbul 2000. Michael Rohde writes of Seirawan's 23rd move, "Holding things up through an x-ray on the pawn on d4." Black would respond to either 24.e5 or 24.exd5 with 24...Qxd4+.[8]

Gerald Abrahams alludes to the X-ray concept, without using that term, when he cites the aphorism, "Put your rook on the line of his queen, no matter how many other pieces intervene." He writes, "That doggerel jingle incorporates some experience".[9] A future world champion played in that manner in RauzerBotvinnik, USSR Championship 1933. Two moves before the position at right arose, Botvinnik had played 13...Rfd8, X-raying the white queen through the pawn on d6. Now Bernard Cafferty and Mark Taimanov suggest "15.Qf2 to get away from the 'X-ray' attack from the d8 rook".[10] Instead, the game continued 15.Rac1 e5! 16.b3 d5!!, exploiting the queen's position on the same file as the rook and leading to a win for Botvinnik 13 moves later.[11][12]

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8
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a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 white pawn
b4 black bishop
b3 white queen
f3 black pawn
g3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
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Petrosian-Ree, position after 8.Qd1-b3; the queen X-rays Black's pawn on b7
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a7 white queen
f7 black knight
g7 black king
g6 black pawn
e5 black queen
f5 black pawn
h5 black pawn
f4 white rook
h4 white pawn
b3 black rook
g3 white pawn
g2 white bishop
h2 white king
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Dorfman-Tseshkovsky: Black, on move, exploits his queen's X-ray of White's king along the b8-h2 diagonal

The position at left arose from the English Opening in the famous miniature PetrosianRee, Wijk aan Zee 1971 after 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4 5.Nd5 Nxd5 6.cxd5 e4?? 7.dxc6 exf3 8.Qb3![13] Author Iakov Neishtadt cites the game as an example of an "X-ray".[14] Black resigned because the white queen's X-ray of his pawn on b7, through Black's bishop on b4, wins a piece after, e.g., 8...a5 (or 8...Qe7) 9.a3 Bc5 10.cxb7.[15]

The above examples all involve a latent attack along a file or rank. A latent attack along a diagonal has also been called an X-ray. The position at right arose in DorfmanTseshkovsky, 46th USSR Championship Tbilisi 1978. Cafferty and Taimanov write, "Black can use the 'X-ray' attack of his queen on the enemy king to break up the white bastions". Black exploited the X-ray along the b8-h2 diagonal and won quickly after 48...g5! 49.hxg5 h4! with a decisive attack.[16] The game concluded 50.g6 Kxg6 51.Qa6+ Kg5 52.gxh4+ Kxf4 53.Qc4+ Ke3+ 54.Kh3 Kf2+ 55.Qxb3 Nxg5+! and White resigned in light of 56.hxg5 Qh8#.[16][17]

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8
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a8 black queen
d8 black rook
g8 black king
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a5 black pawn
d5 black rook
h4 white queen
h3 white pawn
d2 white rook
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
d1 white rook
g1 white king
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White wins with the X-ray 1.Qxd8+!
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g8 black king
b7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
e6 black pawn
f6 black knight
c5 white knight
d5 black bishop
g4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
e3 white pawn
f3 white bishop
g3 white king
h3 white pawn
f2 white pawn
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White wins a pawn with the X-ray 1.Nxb7!

The third usage is given by the American master and writer Bruce Pandolfini, who states that one usage of "X-Ray" is "a skewer defense along a rank, file, or diagonal" that "protects a friendly man through an enemy man in the middle along the same line of power".[18] Jeremy Silman uses the term in the same way, illustrating "X-ray" with the two diagrams at left and right. In the diagram at left, White wins with the X-ray 1.Qxd8+! followed by 1...Rxd8 2.Rxd8+ (note how White's rook defended his queen through the Black rook on d5) Qxd8 3.Rxd8# or 1...Qxd8 2.Rxd5 Qf8 3.Rd8 and wins. In the diagram at right, White wins a pawn with 1.Nxb7!, when White's bishop on f3 defends the White knight on b7 through Black's bishop on d5.[19] Silman states that the X-ray "takes advantage of pieces that appear to be adequately defended but really aren't".[20]

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8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b7 black king
c7 black knight
e7 white queen
h7 black pawn
b6 black pawn
c6 black pawn
e6 black pawn
e5 white pawn
g5 black pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
g4 black queen
c3 white knight
f3 black pawn
d2 white bishop
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
f1 white rook
g1 white king
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Fischer-Bisguier (variation): White defends with the X-ray 28.Qxg5
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a8 black rook
b8 black knight
d8 black queen
e8 black rook
g8 black king
b7 black pawn
e7 black knight
f7 black pawn
c6 black pawn
g6 black pawn
b4 black pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 black bishop
h3 white queen
a2 white pawn
b2 white bishop
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
c1 white king
d1 white rook
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
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Euwe-Loman: White forced mate with the X-ray 17.Qh8+!

Raymond Keene also uses the term in this way in analyzing FischerBisguier, New York 1957.[21] Discussing a possible variation that could have arisen in that game (see position at left), Keene writes that 28.Qxg5 (when the white queen defends against 28...Qxg2# through Black's queen on g4) "defends the mate—an 'X-ray motif', as Fischer once described it".[22]

In Euwe-Loman, Rotterdam 1923 (diagram at right), White forced mate with 17.Qh8+! Bxh8 18.Rxh8#.[23] Neishtadt writes of 17.Qh8+, "The X-ray! The bishop at b2 attacks the square h8 'through' the enemy bishop."[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edward R. Brace, An Illustrated Dictionary of Chess, David McKay, 1977, p. 310. ISBN 0-679-50814-7.
  2. ^ Edward Winter, Chess Note 4245. Retrieved on 2009-03-17.
  3. ^ Byrne J. Horton, Dictionary of Modern Chess, Philosophical Library, 1959, p. 220.
  4. ^ Richard Palliser, Tango! A Dynamic Answer to 1 d4, Everyman Chess, 2005, p. 177 (referring to "The e-file X-ray"). ISBN 1-85744-388-8.
  5. ^ Georgi Orlov, The Black Knights' Tango, Batsford, 1998, pp. 116-17 ("The idea of this mysterious rook move [8...Re8] is to prepare ...e6-e5 followed by ...Nd4! In that case the rook 'x-rays' the e4 pawn."). ISBN 0-7134-8349-0.
  6. ^ Bobby Fischer, My 60 Memorable Games, Faber and Faber, 1969, pp. 351-52. ISBN 0-571-09987-4.
  7. ^ Atanas Kolev and Trajko Nedev, The Easiest Sicilian, Chess Stars, Bulgaria, 2008, p. 98. ISBN 978-954-8782-66-1.
  8. ^ Michael Rohde, "Game of the Month", Chess Life, March 2001, p. 15.
  9. ^ Gerald Abrahams, Technique in Chess, Dover Publications, 1973, p. 18. ISBN 0-486-22953-X.
  10. ^ Bernard Cafferty and Mark Taimanov, The Soviet Championships, Cadogan Chess Books, 1998, p. 36. ISBN 1-85744-201-6.
  11. ^ Cafferty & Taimanov, pp. 36-37.
  12. ^ Rauzer-Botvinnik, USSR Championship 1933. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2009-05-29.
  13. ^ Petrosian-Ree, Wijk aan Zee 1971. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-04.
  14. ^ Iakov Neishtadt, Catastrophe in the Opening, Pergamon Press, 1980, pp. 255, 266. ISBN 0-08-024097-6.
  15. ^ Neishtadt, p. 255.
  16. ^ a b Cafferty & Taimanov, p. 180.
  17. ^ Chess Informant, Volume 27, Beograd, 1979, pp. 55-56.
  18. ^ Bruce Pandolfini, Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps, Fireside Chess Library, 1989, p. 232. ISBN 0-671-65690-2.
  19. ^ Jeremy Silman, The Complete Book of Chess Strategy: Grandmaster Techniques from A to Z, Siles Press, 1998, pp. 132-33. ISBN 1-890085-01-4.
  20. ^ Silman 1998, p. 132.
  21. ^ Fischer-Bisguier, U.S. Championship 1957. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2009-05-26.
  22. ^ Raymond Keene in E. G. Winter (editor), World Chess Champions, Pergamon Press, 1981, p. 114. ISBN 0-08-024094-1.
  23. ^ Euwe-Loman, Rotterdam 1923. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2010-05-01.
  24. ^ Neishtadt, pp. 25-26.